DOE Report: New Financing Mechanisms for Solar Industry Will Drive Costs Down Further

first_imgDOE Report: New Financing Mechanisms for Solar Industry Will Drive Costs Down Further FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享By  Michael Copley for SNL: Long a niche industry burdened by expensive financing, solar appears on the verge of unlocking cheaper sources of capital that could propel it further into the mainstream.From yieldcos to asset-backed securities and cash equity financing, solar companies have been trying to take advantage of declining costs and maturing technology to move toward alternatives to the relatively expensive tax-equity funding that historically drove industry growth.“Once solar is much less costly and less subsidized, it might receive the type of lower-cost financing received by mature assets today,” the U.S. Department of Energy said in a recent report titled “On the Path to SunShot: Emerging Opportunities and Challenges in Financing Solar.”Costs, at least in the utility-scale sector, may not have that much further to fall. At about $1.20 per watt, utility-scale solar plants could be financed in the same way developers fund construction of natural gas plants, the DOE said. GTM Research recently reported average turnkey costs as low as $1.25 per watt in the southeastern U.S., $1.27 per watt in the southwest and $1.32 per watt in California.Based on the DOE’s SunShot initiative price targets for 2020, which are based on cost reductions of 75% from 2010 levels, the government previously said solar could meet 27% of the country’s electricity demand by 2050. In the past five years, solar’s levelized cost of energy has dropped by as much as 65%, the DOE said.“[Utility]-scale solar in the U.S. is extraordinarily competitive,” GTM Research Senior Vice President Shayle Kann said May 11 at the firm’s solar summit in Arizona. “That creates an enormous potential for demand outside of renewable portfolio standards just out of pure need for new electricity generation capacity for utilities all over the country.”Full article $: read more

Meet George Jetson? Orlando Unveils Plans for First Flying-Car Hub in U.S.

first_imgIn an announcement that drew immediate comparisons to “The Jetsons,” the city of Orlando, Fla., and a German aviation company formally unveiled plans on Wednesday to build the first hub for flying cars in the United States.The 56,000-square-foot transportation hub, shown for the first time in renderings and in a video simulation, resembles an airport terminal. Think Eero Saarinen.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – Orlando officials don’t seem to be dissuaded by that uncertainty. On Monday, the City Council approved more than $800,000 in potential tax rebates to Lilium.Buddy Dyer, the city’s longtime mayor, framed the project as a transformational one in a statement on Wednesday.“For this new technology to truly reshape the transportation ecosystem and benefit Orlando residents long-term, it is going to take a true partnership between cities, developers and transportation operators,” Mr. Dyer said. “We have been focused on finding the right partners to be a global leader in the advanced air mobility space.” – Advertisement – The site selected for the transportation hub is in Lake Nona, a 17-square-mile planned community within the city limits that is next to Orlando International Airport. It will require approval from the Federal Aviation Administration. The aircraft themselves will also fall under the agency’s oversight.“The F.A.A. is the regulatory authority over all flight activities in the United States, including urban air mobility aircraft,” the F.A.A. said in a statement on Wednesday night. “The agency is in the preliminary stages of working with these applicants and will continue to engage with them as they work to meet certification standards.”Jim Gray, a City Council commissioner whose district includes the site of the planned hub, said on Monday that tax incentives were justified and that the project would create about 140 jobs that paid about $65,000 a year on average.“That’s what we need,” Mr. Gray said during the Council meeting. “We need better-paying jobs. So I think our investment, us priming the pump to help this work with some tax rebates, is absolutely the right thing to do.”Orlando officials noted that the projected salaries would be more than 25 percent higher than the average salary in Orange County, which includes the city. They also said that the tax rebates were not taking away from existing funds.“It also should be emphasized on rebates that’s on value that they’re generating,” Mr. Dyer said on Monday. “We’re rebating money that would not otherwise be there.”In a January 2019 report on the emergence of flying cars, analysts at Morgan Stanley said that “autonomous urban aircraft may no longer be the stuff of comic books.” But they took a longer view on the technology, stating that flying cars would be common by 2040, with the global market projected to be $1.4 trillion to $2.9 trillion by then. The so-called vertiport is scheduled to be completed in 2025 and will enable passengers to bypass Florida’s notoriously congested highways, the city and the hub’s developers contend. But is the ambitious project, intended to introduce Lilium’s flying taxis as a more time-efficient if costlier alternative to ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, viable? There is a caveat: The aircraft are still in the developmental phase.- Advertisement – Some officials in Florida couldn’t help but bring up the 1960s animated series “The Jetsons,” in which the father, George Jetson, cruised through the skies in a flying car.“This,” said Jerry L. Demings, Orange County’s mayor, “is truly ‘The Jetsons’ coming to reality in Central Florida’s backyard.” The electric-powered aircraft will be capable of taking off vertically from the ground-based hub and reaching a top speed of 186 miles per hour, according to the Munich-based aviation company Lilium, which is working with the Orlando firm Tavistock Development Company on the project.last_img read more

Complaints against Cyfs upheld, but panel faces change

first_imgNZ Herald 24 oct 2012Despite success by complainants, system has been criticised for being too slow to act. An advisory panel set up in 2008 to hear complaints against child protection services has at least partly upheld 33 of the first 40 cases it has heard. The panel, which advises the Social Development Ministry chief executive, may soon be replaced by an independent authority after a review by former Police Commissioner Howard Broad, announced this month. Panel members upheld 12 complaints in full and another 21 in part. Only seven complaints were not upheld. It has paid compensation to eight families totalling $75,000. But Greymouth advocate Graeme Axford, who obtained the data under the Official Information Act, said the panel’s processes were too slow and it was still not genuinely independent. “By the time you have been to the end of the complaints process, yes 80 per cent have been upheld, but it’s too late because you can’t retrospectively fix the issues that led you to have to go there, so it’s really like a slap on the hand with a wet bus ticket,” he said.Wanganui caregivers Angela and Grant Rogerson were awarded $10,000 compensation for not getting adequate support from Child, Youth and Family Services during a four-year campaign against them by a mother whose two children Cyfs had placed in their care. They were awarded another $5000 for breach of privacy when Cyfs gave the mother documents detailing unproven allegations against them. But Mrs Rogerson said the mother’s campaign cost them $700,000 by driving customers away from Mr Rogerson’s computer business, forcing him to close the business after 20 years. Mrs Rogerson also had to give up her job managing a motel and stopped working as a caregiver. A central North Island grandmother was awarded $7500 compensation after a three-year struggle to get legal care of her grandson, but is appealing to the Ombudsman because she had to give up her job and move to the South Island, where her grandson lived. Her daughter, the boy’s mother, lived with a partner who assaulted the boy. “When I first got my grandson I was told he was not allowed to see my daughter,” she said. “How are you supposed to have a relationship with your daughter and your grandson when they are not even allowed to see each other?”Family First director Bob McCoskrie said the Government should create a genuinely independent Cyfs complaints authority immediately, without awaiting Mr Broad’s report. “The evidence shows that Cyfs is making mistakes,” he said. read more